Houston Astros: Hopes, Dreams, and the Promise of A New Season
By Larry Manch
Astros fans, and fans of every big league team, look forward to the new season with hope. Hope that your team will play well enough all summer to make the playoffs, the World Series, and maybe, win it all. For some, the promise is real; for others, only a dream, and still others, a recurring nightmare.
Astros fans have not had much to hope or cheer for lately, with a long string of losing seasons. It’s a bit sobering to realize we are all ten years older since the Astros’ only World Series appearance – the last time they made the playoffs, in 2005. The Astros have not had a winning season since 2008, and have suffered through six straight losing years.
Fans of the Giants, Angels, A’s, Cardinals, Red Sox, Tigers, and a few others go into the season knowing their team is a threat to win it all. This season, Astros fans mostly look for the team to reach .500 for the first time in recent memory. A playoff spot would be nice, but we’re realistic in our hopes and dreams for our team – post-season play is likely still a few years in the future.
We thought things were looking up in 2012, when the Astros hired Bo Porter as manager. That didn’t work out, and Porter was fired two years later. New manager A.J. Hinch is not well known, however he joins the Astros with the promise to lead this young team to a winning record. We don’t know if he will fare any better than Porter did, but we’re rooting for Hinch to be successful, stay around for a while, and help end the long nightmare.
Last season, Jose Altuve – the Face of the Astros – did something no Astro in history had done. His AL Batting Championship (he led all of MLB in average and hits) was a dream season and gave Astros fans something concrete to cheer about. It wasn’t just hoping the team would win a few more games than in previous seasons – it was about showing the rest of baseball that we have at least one legitimate star player.
This year’s Astros team looks very different on paper, and hopefully, on the field. Fans hope for the good things of last year to continue – the spectacular play of Altuve, the pitching promise of staff workhorse Dallas Keuchel, and the power of Chris Carter. We hope for the promise of young men like George Springer, Jon Singleton, and Jake Marisnick to shine through and move from mere dreams of being solid, every day major leaguers, to reality.
Acquisitions such as veterans Evan Gattis and Colby Rasmus hold the promise of increased power. Last year, the Astros were fourth in the majors in home runs, and second in strikeouts. With the addition of Gattis and Rasmus, we hope to see more homers, and we hope that will overcome what will almost certainly be a higher strikeout total.
Of course, it could all turn out to be a continuation of the same nightmare of the past few years. However, the new look of the team means the 2015 season is the first in many years that Astros fans actually have solid hope for a winning record.
We’re not getting any younger – let’s hope the team returns to winning ways before the last winning season fades from memory. At the very least, Astros fans hope the dream comes true: to wake up from the nightmare of recent seasons, and to see some of the promise and hopes become reality.
Next: Houston Colt .45s: The Forgotten Team
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